Loneliness is a strange feeling, an unfamiliar concept but a confusing one to say the least. Some ride it off as being introverted, antisocial. Others refuse to acknowledge it, keeping themselves as busy as possible and surrounded by people at all times. But both parties struggle with it, discover the feeling creeping in with no help or hindrance.
Some feel more themselves when alone or around few. Others are most alive when with large groups. It definitely has to do with being introverted and extroverted... Right? Do we even use those terms correctly? Right or left, black or white, introverted or extroverted. Do we have to be one or the other?
Introverts-- as I'll refer to them-- like to be alone because people annoy them. They feel most comfortable by themselves, when they can let their true colors show. Being able to be alone without relying on other's opinions to make it through life is admirable to be sure. It's something I wish I could accomplish, could feel confident in. But the problem with that is introverts are too afraid to reveal their inner selves to others. They'd much rather stay inside their warm, comfortable shell than to expose themselves in broad daylight. The world misses out on an extraordinary individual because of this insecurity or lack of ability to remove the mask.
On the other hand is the extrovert, one who thrives on human contact, personal relationships. An extrovert's worst nightmare is to be alone, for it is then that he is forced to examine the self within. Sometimes extroverts really can't be themselves without others, feel trapped unless people coax them out of the shell. I admire that ability to be vulnerable with many people, to live somewhat fearlessly and trusting of humankind. Yet, is the face shown just an act to get people to like him? Is the vulnerability all just a game and the reason he hates to be alone is because he's too scared to examine the true personality within?
So where do these two meet? I used to think I was an introvert but that was just my excuse for constantly being alone for lack of friends. I was lonely but justified it as being normal since I'm really a homely person. Then I went to Italy and was around people literally all the time. I thrived like never before. I couldn't stand being alone for more than a few hours for fear that my success would be lost and my only companion would once again be loneliness.
The descriptions above are skewed to be sure, inaccurate descriptions of both the introvert and extrovert. Though incredibly opposite, the clashing personalities, if you will, are feelings I struggle with often, if not experience everyday. One minute I hate people, the next I wish to be surrounded by a crowd. I think a lot of it has more to do with how I view myself as an individual than with the people I'm actually interacting with. I dislike who I am, am terrified of living with myself forever, alone. I need companionship. But I need space. Can one have both?
It seems like no matter which road I take the end is always the same: Either I'm surrounded by faces, so utterly out of place or am all alone with little contact. Whatever the result, I'll always have one true friend: loneliness. Maybe it's not such a bad thing after all?